Wednesday, April 30, 2008

School seems to be becoming progressively routine and boring these days. Perhaps it is due to the strange, stuffy, oppressive feeling we seem to be having these days, the feeling of inevitability, of something approaching. The A levels, in other words. It feels like I no longer have space to breathe in school. I don't think that's the feeling a school should be fostering.

It feels surreal that my 12 years of compulsory education is going to end this year. For the first time in my life, I have complete freedom to choose which path I want to pursue. I'm fortunate in the sense that my parents are supportive of whatever I want to do. So ultimately it's up to me to determine what I want to do with my life. It feels scary, yet thrilling at the same time. While I believe that teaching is a very important job, I feel no desire to take it upon myself as I'm in no hurry to return to the same school environment. So no, I'm not going to become a teacher.

Dreaming of a new school bag...

Someone on Craftster actually MADE THIS BAG. Doesn't it look fantastic? Such perfect straps and piping! Love the choice of print as well. When I'm free I'm totally going to make some stylish bags that I can sport on the university campus.
Watched the finale of It started with a kiss 2 today. The show provides an opportunity for me to keep in touch with my chinese. As expected, the finale made me cry. I never fail to cry when watching the last episode of any good drama serial with some form of love tragedy. Goong, hana yori dango, and now this. Oh yeah, I cried for Gokusen too, but that was a teacher-students relationship. It sounds paradoxical (not to mention masochistic, haha), but tragedy actually makes me feel good in that I'm achieving release of emotions. I think I understand what Aristotle means when he said that the tragic drama helps us achieve "catharsis".

The orchid plant in my balcony is blooming right now! This does not happen very often. Isn't it lovely?

An artwork from me

Last year in art class we were each given a lightbulb and tasked to create something with it. This is what I came up with:

The form of the lightbulb and the warmth it gives off reminded me of a cocoon. I covered the glass surface with white strips of acrylic paint, wrapped the base in gauze and wound white thread around the entire lightbulb to create this cocoon. The lightbulb is also a giver of light, whereas I imagine the inside of the cocoon to be dark and the light of the world is only revealed when the larva emerges from it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Went to eat free Ben & Jerry's ice-cream today- stopped at two because I couldn't fit more! It was SOOO good. Besides, one of the scoop-ers recognized me from my old school and gave me an extra big heap of ice-cream! Previously, I assumed Singaporeans were the passive sort, but now I think this does not describe them in their entirety. Like recently when I went for the choir concert, a kind soul guided me to Victoria Concert Hall. Yesterday, too, a Nanyang student struck up a conversation with me about IP at the bus-stop. There are always people around willing to do you a favour, chat with you or help you out, and it is such people that bring cheer to my day. I'm trying to bring myself to be less reserved and do the same for others. Of course, it helps to look friendly, because nobody likes to approach a hostile-looking person.

On another note, my mum bought new Renoma wallets for me and my sister. I like that they're simple. My sister's wallet:

My wallet (love the colour!):

Minty green is one of my favourite colours, in addition to yellow, blue, white, gray, gold, silver and pink. When I was digging out the contents of my old wallet, i found this scrap of paper:

It's from 10 years ago, can you believe it! It's even a bit yellowed now. It's some weird bill I made out to my sis for using the computer. My spelling is atrocious ("exiry date").

Random photo of a watercooler: just playing around with the effects on my phone camera. I thought the result was quite cool.

Monday, April 28, 2008

To view works by the product design graduate who came to talk to us, visit His ongoing project, called Project 12, is really interesting. What he did was to print words on paper, cut them out individually, crumble and jumble them up and then form pairs randomly. What he got were phrases like "eat bed" and "love plate". Some sound rather nonsensical, but it's inspiring to see how he used them as a springboard for concepts and products. It's obvious that his works are more experimental and not really commercially viable, so it's hard for him to get by and he has to do part-time work.

Spent the afternoon today helping to finish a pair of glass mosaics for the school. I have to say they look really good! These photos don't really do them justice. We took an excruciatingly long time, designing, cutting up the tiles, sticking them in place, filling the concrete and finally polishing the glass. Just so glad it's done. Yay!

Two random photos: an incredibly blurred one (I was on the bus) of construction workers at the site of Ion Orchard, and the second of shadows on the ground. Can't wait for Ion Orchard to be opened so that I can have more shopping options. It's rumoured that the fantastic mid-range store H&M will have their first Singapore branch there. Though it's offerings would probably be not as fantastic as the ones in Europe, which is exactly what's happening with Topshop. Bleh.

I resolve to work hard for CTSs!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The house seems rather lonely right now. Mum's in China on a business trip, my brothers are both out (one probably with his girlfriend and the other with his friends). That's what you get when you're the youngest in the house. I'm listening to some classical music now on my handphone cos my CD player's spoilt. I'm thinking of a time when my brother might not even be in the house anymore, having married and moved out. Not sure how that'd be like but I'm definitely going to miss him.

Looking at these photos of a HANDBOUND, HANDWRITTEN, and HAND-DRAWN book cheered me up. It's the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood. It's from the Craftster forum, of which I'm a member of.

Can you believe the amount of work that went into this? I really treasure handmade gifts though lately I have less and less time to do them. I must start thinking of gifts for my teachers.

Things we've made...

Something I discovered and fell in love with lately is Egon Schiele's art. His works have an amazing textural quality and a certain form that's hard to define- geometric? Perhaps he's influenced by Cubism. It's interesting to see how he accords this treatment to towns, natural landscapes, plants, people. His colour palette is quite unique as well, and makes his art have a slightly gloomy air.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Whew! It's been such a busy week, I don't know where to begin. Well, today, a guy who graduated last year from a masters in design spoke to us. The thing about being in a JC (and in Singapore) is that I'm surrounded by people who are pragmatic, and in many cases are concerned about money and financial stability. It's so refreshing to meet this guy who goes with his passion, firmly believes in what he's doing and pushes for it, even if it is commercially inviable. He lacks a proper job despite graduating last year and instead does his own design projects with his studio that he set up with friends to experiment and challenge the notions of design. Even if, from lack of money, he were to die along the streets somewhere (pardon the horrible supposition), he would die happy. And ultimately that's what all of us want in life, isn't it?

After hearing him talk about design, I realised that I don't know very much about it, and indeed, I'm not so sure now that it suits me. I'm inclined towards being a lifestyle writer now, especially travel and fashion. And I so do want to go overseas to study! I've heard people say "What's wrong about going to NUS?" Well, there's nothing wrong as NUS is a perfectly decent and actually a very highly-ranked university but the prospect of it doesn't excite me. It's as simple as that. My mind rebels against boredom and stagnation. By going overseas, I hope to gain new perspectives and experiences. So that's a goal that I'm going to work hard towards achieving.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I often feel guilty about missing so many CCA sessions due to classes. This was the reason I quit last year: I felt that being in a CCA would be futile if I couldn't commit and I was afraid of dragging everyone down. It was SYF year after all. But this year being my last year in JC, I thought if I didn't try I'd never get the chance again to experience performing in a band. It frustrates me if there's something I really want to do but can't. Can't I be selfish for once? Just like how I want to learn to care less about offending others, and to express my opinions or have the option of saying "no" to people's requests. It might be wrong, but this time I want to do something for myself.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lately, conducting storytelling sessions for children has made me look back on my own childhood. I think I was quite a bright child. I loved playing games such as snakes-and-ladders, monopoly, scrabble and enjoyed word puzzles and crafts as well. I loved reading and writing. I was never pushed in my learning, but was basically given free rein to explore. I realise that the things I did as a child set the wheels in motion for what I have become. Writing was my first love, and I still like it very much. Art is another great part of my life. My somewhat free-spirited nature was derived from my childhood I think. And I don't feel like I constantly need to be surrounded by people; I'm just at ease with myself. For this reason some call me introverted, but I'm not sure if that is necessarily so. A more accurate description would be that I like to be independent and I enjoy the time simply spent doing things I like. Having been rather sheltered, I think I've grown to be sensitive, even if I don't appear to be. I can have quite acute inner emotions and strong thoughts. Perhaps this sensitivity has also inclined me towards my two passions, art and writing. I'm quite a dreamer too; it's harder for me to think in practical terms and put thought into action. I don't think this is a totally negative trait of mine though, because it means that I always rely on my mind to supply me with ideas. Also because I think one has to dare to dream in order to take the first step towards accomplishing it.
If I have children next time, I think the greatest gift I can give them is that of freedom. No enforcing hard-and-fast rules, no sending them for myriad classes to develop talents, just allowing them to explore and let their natural talents and passions emerge. Parents in their overeagerness often go too far in their supervision, not realising that the true meaning of childhood is freedom and play. It seems that the older we grow, the more we forget this very simple idea.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The stress is finally starting to get to me. I'm faced with the daunting prospect of having to hand in four prep boards of my art coursework as part of my common test grade. On top of that, we have the full visual arts paper and half of the h3 paper. NOOOOO!!!!! I really must get down to work.

On another note, these photos from a teen vogue editorial on prom cheered me up ( The amusement park-cum-beach setting, the pairing of sneakers with a poofy tulle skirt, cute clutches and heels, bright colours and the geek boyfriend all spell goofy fun.

In addition, the fantastic issue shows how to customise a plain dress to make it prom-appriopriate.

This was originally a plain white dress. The hem area has been painted with black fabric paint and a black ribbon added at the waist. Looks pretty professional, don't you think?

I haven't yet made up my mind about whether prom is too contrived an affair, what with everyone dressing in gowns and the conventional hotel setting. I think it'd be very cool to hold prom in an alternative setting, like a disused factory turned dancefloor or something (I'm thinking of the London Tate Modern museuem and St James Powerstation here). I'm deciding between a short or full-length dress. Full-length would bring a dramatic flair, but I like the spirit of a short dress. And I really am not into the idea of opting for the usual Daniel Yam gowns. His designs are ok, but get kind of routine after a while and anyway I know there are better, more unique designs for dresses. I think I'd try to sew my own dress, and pray that it wouldn't turn out disastrous.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This thing called STYLE

With my interest in fashion, it's natural that I would have given some thought to the concept of style. I distinguish style from fashion. One can be fashionable but not stylish. To be fashionable simply means to be in touch with current trends, whereas style entails possessing a distinctive aesthetic and necessarily an awareness of self. Some might critiscize interest in fashion as shallowness, but I think developing a personal style is a process of self-evaluation and a way of achieving confidence.

It is fair to say that my mum has had a profound influence on my interest in fashion. Even in the photos of her back then, her sense of style is evident. Despite being petite, she has this air that sets her apart from others and makes her more than just a pretty face (even though she is obviously very beautiful). She KNOWS herself, that's why. She's not afraid to wear spaghetti-strap tops despite her age, but chooses the classy instead of trashy ones and wears them under jackets or cardigans. She has an amazing collection of vintage and current jewellery ranging from the expensive to quirky ones made by art students. Even though I might not always agree with what she wears, she almost always looks good. Most importantly, she has taught me that the best accessory is personality and vitality. And that, perhaps, is more important than anything you put on yourself.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

From my notebook...

My foray into jewellery design. Fun !

Where I get a bite when I'm out

I've taken to eating the regular-sized cups of yami yoghurt from the basement food stall of junction 8. The yoghurt comes in many flavours, and is much more palatable than supermarket yoghurt yet retains that tart taste. My personal favourites are natural and peach. Try the toppings as well. It's a great substitute for ice-cream on a hot day. I'll try to post some photos.

Another of my favourite bites is the doughnuts from takashimaya basement, next to the gelato stall. These doughnuts are somewhat cake-y in texture and come in an assortment of delicious flavours. I find the less fussy ones better as the doughnut tastes good as it is.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The photo that I've been showing to many people...

(Taken in the school library). Nothing like a good dose of competition to send sparks flying between our two presidential candidates, Hillary and Obama :)

Update- workspace

Added my name and jazzed up the pedestal-like thingy to match the wall.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Workspace wall

Bored by the wide expanse of white on the wall of my workspace and without prior planning, I wielded a paintbrush, a paper plate of paint and in about 20 or so minutes did THIS.

I felt oddly good after that. Maybe it's the whole Jackson Pollock- ritualistic painting thing. Yup, the whole bit about painting in a trance and achieving release of emotions or "catharsis". Or maybe it's my inner biologist coming out.

"Rubbish" art

Mixed media- melted red tape, paper, beeswax
Something I accidentally created during my etching class. Something to think about- can I turn anything into art just by giving it a title?